Adjusting to climate risks is only prudent

Today in The Australian

According to Kenneth Hayne, former High Court judge and commissioner of last year’s financial services royal commission, Australian company directors need to spend more time worrying about climate change.

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas AO is a columnist for The Australian. From 2009 to 2015 he was Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia and from 2009 to 2017 was Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility. He joined SMART and Deloitte after working as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Prior to that, he was an economist at the OECD in Paris from the late 1970s until the early 1990s. At the OECD, he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment (1984-1987), which concentrated on improving the efficiency of government policies in a wide range of areas, and was subsequently Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department. He has taught at a range of universities, undertaken a number of government inquiries and served as a Lay Member of the New Zealand High Court. In 2016, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia.
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25 Responses to Adjusting to climate risks is only prudent

  1. stackja

    If Australia gives billions to Red China, the earth will cool?
    Executives don’t have a enough to do? So why don’t they quit and save shareholders money?

  2. Professor Fred Lenin

    Large electricity using manufacturers can move to a Third World Country to get reliable cheap power ,genersted by Australian coal bought from a Cinese mining company in Australia .
    That is the rediculous truth caused by climate traitors in Australia truth is stranger than fiction .

  3. Davey Boy

    I hereby bestow on the honorable person of Kenneth Hayne,
    former High Court judge,
    the Right Royal Antediluvian Order of GFY.
    You’re welcome.

  4. Speedbox

    Well Ken, I’m a company director and I don’t spend any time worrying about climate change except to the extent it’s a foolish concept propagated by spivs that is white-anting our society. Maybe in one respect I rue not getting on the bandwagon – I could have made a stack of money – but my ethical compass is more refined than that of some others.

    In the meantime Ken, I spend my time thinking about income, taxation, the next big project and a myriad of other issues that will promote commerce and growth (and consequently wealth) for myself and others. Climate change, in addition to other softy feelz woke practices, do have an influence – but not in the context that you are thinking about.

    Piss off Ken. When I want your advice, I’ll ask for it.

  5. Bronson

    Bjorn Lomburg any one? On his groups cost benefit analysis of world issues climate change comes in at 5 or 6 after things like improved child nutrition and broad scale immunization. These are the real issues that could be dealt with relatively inexpensively and make a substantial difference to the world rather than throwing billions and trillions of dollars at nebulous concepts like climate change.

  6. Australian company directors need to spend more time worrying about climate change

    As long as they do so in their own time.

  7. Robber Baron

    With so many well positioned elites still scrambling to get on board the “climate train” it must surely look like the Mumbai 8.35AM by now. Is there any space left?

  8. John A

    On a risk assessment basis, company directors should take as much notice of “climate change” as do their insurers and the life assurance industry, or the banks who still make loans extending beyond twelve years hence.

  9. Grog Swiper

    Breath taking. What is it about individuals who achieve some measure of prominence that they begin making public statements on a subject where the data does not lend itself to any balance of evidence. I can only think of one single senior executive (David Murray) who has rejected the CAGW assertions. Even BHP have now compromised themselves.

    If you were a junior company you would now think twice about a joint venture with BHP because you would have to sign up to their Climate Change Policy which is by definition only going to increase your cost structures. In a commodity business thats completely counterproductive. It probably also means that in the long run if a business doesnt subscribe to the “Paris Agreement” it is better off staying private which then reduces pool of investments available to the individual. In the end non DIY super funds will only have opportunities in non coal, non gas, non petroleum, non construction (concrete), non steel, non plastics, non materials processing, non heavy transport or logistics.

    So banks, vegan meat and marijuana stocks. See how that portfolio performs.

  10. Rusty of Qld

    Lead by example Mr Hayne, run your life on 100% renewable energy then maybe you can start lecturing, your wealthy enough. Until then stop telling the little people how to live and STFU!

  11. Up The Workers!

    When Ken Hayne chows down on Mung Beans for every single meal, then, and only then,will l start listening to his nonsensical “Save the Planet” brain-farts.

  12. Dr Faustus

    Company Directors also need to spend more time worrying about:

    Killer asteroids;
    The next swine flu epidemic;
    The Lizard People who walk amongst us.

  13. Kneel

    Thanks Ken, I will.
    Alas, there are only so many hours in the day, so something has to go.
    Will you be OK if I stop checking that I have the requisite number of gay, left-handed, midget, albino eskimos on the payroll? That way, I’ll have time to consider climate change.

  14. Rafe Champion

    Given the current stock of emissions, some of those threats, such as rising sea levels, are, it seems, “baked in”, regardless of what happens to global abatement. That may equally be the case for other possible conseq­uences, such as a greater incidence of the stratospheric warming events that have aggravated this year’s fires. And higher temperatures and stronger and more persistent winds could reduce the scope for hazard-reduction burning, making large-scale fires more likely. If those claims are correct, reorienting our climate change policies towards greater emphasis on adaptation is absolutely vital.

    A very disappointing effort Henry. All of the alleged risks from climate change are decisively refuted by the science and the evidence.

    So far, the government has largely ignored the mounting chorus, preferring to focus on practical measures to address the immediate crisis. However, by not engaging, it loses the public debate and wastes the opportunity to ­consider whether the approach successive governments have adopted continues to make sense.

    The government is unwilling and unable to explain that successive government policies do not make sense and it behoves those of us who have the independence to speak the truth to do so and try to create a climate of debate where sensible policies can get a hearing.

  15. Lee

    Umm … no, Australian company directors need to spend more time returning a profit for their shareholders, not preening for the leftist mob.

  16. Terry

    Where are all of the business people and their media statements repudiating the misinformed ramblings of this abject idiot?

    His (completely ignorant) posturing on “Climate Change™” is entirely unsurprising given his demonstrable lack of competence leading the Banking Royal Commission.

    How does the government find, appoint and pay people to sit in judgement of matters that are well beyond their capability?

  17. Bazinga

    Repeat after me, social licence to operate is not a thing. We have laws that cover these things already.

  18. I’m a director and have been so for the last 15 years. I have also considered the risks of climate change (and first started paying attention to the prospect back in the early 1990s) and I have concluded that no specific action in relation to the entity for which I am partly responsible, is required. I do not need to plead ‘learned helplessness’ to arrive at that conclusion. I am fully aware of my obligations.

  19. I_am_not_a_robot

    Not being a subscriber therefore relying on Rafe Champion’s quoted extracts I’m equally dismayed to discover someone whose opinion I highly respected (from reading the odd hard copy of The Australian) appears to be easily taken in.
    Is it air-borne or is it in the water?
    A single month anomalous warming event over the Antarctic cannot be related to GHG warming and while the SH lower stratosphere was unusually warm, at the same time the NH LS was unusually cool.
    It seems every unusual weather or atmospheric event must be attributed to human GHGs and some harmful effect found to link to it.
    Henry may be interested in the performance of climate models that are the basis of current policy.

  20. Whalehunt fun

    When I want advice on how to run my company I will not be looking to a socialist. They are the human equivalent of a fistula turned cancerous.

  21. Gerard

    What climate do we adjust to? A warming climate as predicted by climate scientists or a cooling climate as predicted by solar physicists worried about the upcoming Grand Solar Minimum?

  22. Rafe Champion

    Not being a subscriber therefore relying on Rafe Champion’s quoted extracts I’m equally dismayed to discover someone whose opinion I highly respected (from reading the odd hard copy of The Australian) appears to be easily taken in.

    Henry’s piece has got something for everyone, you could say it is nuanced! I may have been unfair to cut off the last sentence of one extract that I cited.

    And higher temperatures and stronger and more persistent winds could reduce the scope for hazard-reduction burning, making large-scale fires more likely. If those claims are correct, reorienting our climate change policies towards greater emphasis on adaptation is absolutely vital.

    Still too many concessions to the alarmists. In fairness to Henry and everyone else who did not get well trained in natural science and has not had the time to put in hard yards in the primary literature of climate science – people in that situation can’t really have a properly informed independent opinion on the science, apart from detecting the most obvious frauds like Mann’s hockey stick and the IPCC pronouncements on the Reef.

  23. RobK

    Any risk is best tackled with a healthy ledger sheet.
    Subsidies transfer the risk to the taxpayers.

  24. Russell

    I remember this sort of bullying and threatening of company directors about the Y2K bug in the late 1990s. Yes most directors cowered to the consultant bullies and forced their companies to waste productive opportunities chasing shadows. They said they had no choice but their judgement was impaired by fear. But fear is the mind killer.
    The majority of really risky companies (airlines, phone and power companies) found no problems and just wasted their time. At least that fiasco got tested with an actual date. Climate Change just keep shifting the date out as their predictions fail.
    And today we have many more woman on Boards so that is likely to make this time much worse.

  25. cohenite

    This fool needs to look at a few cost/benefit analyses which are all predicated on alarmism being real which it is patently not. A good start would be Lomborg who in his book Cool it on p 41 Fig 11, shows the various combinations of doing something about climate change. The optimal approach is to do nothing because, as idiots like this fuckwit do not understand, if it were real, climate change would bring benefits as well as costs. So doing nothing would cost $1 trillion in climate costs and bring $2 trillion in climate benefits.

    Doing what the IPCC and pol tot want done would cost $84 trillion and bring benefits of $11 trillion.

    All cost/benefit analyses show the costs of doing something outweigh any benefits.

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